When you quit drinking, your body goes through a lot of positive changes. This is something that’s very healthy and very good for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy or that there won’t be side-effects, withdrawals, or bad feelings associated with quitting drinking.
If you’ve spent any amount of time relying on alcohol as a way to cope with life, or using it as a crutch, then getting rid of that crutch can trigger all sorts of difficult emotions and feelings, so being prepared for this can help you work your way through it.
Understanding that it’s normal, but that you can still seek out help if you need it with nothing to be ashamed about, is crucial as you embark on this new stage of your journey through life.
When you’re expecting something, it can be easier to manage it. If you stop drinking and you’re expecting yourself to just instantly feel amazing, and then you find yourself feeling down or depressed instead, it can be really discouraging and can even cause people to start drinking again, to help cope with those feelings.
Learning New Coping Mechanisms When You Quit Drinking
In some cases, people will use alcohol as a way to deal with their depression, almost as a way to try to mask it – but anyone whose done this knows it doesn’t really work, especially in the long term.
So, once they stop drinking, they’re left with the same depression, and without their way to cope with it (Even if it’s not a good way to cope, it’s still what they used…)
This is where talking to a mental healthcare professional can be a crucial part of the process to stop drinking.
Addictions counselors can help you to understand what to expect when you stop drinking, while also working with you to help you learn new, better coping mechanisms.
What To Do About Depression After Quitting Drinking
If you’re having any thoughts of self-harm or serious depression feelings, it’s very important that you talk to someone who can help you. A therapist, a counselor, an addictions counselor… someone. Just take the first step, because the longer you wait, the harder it can be.
One of life’s wicked tricks is that the more you need help, the harder it can feel to reach out for help. Recognize this, and get past it – it could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
If you’ve managed to stop drinking, you’ve already accomplished something incredible, but sometimes you can be left with an, “Okay… what now?” feeling.
That’s why it can be really important and beneficial to find things to replace alcohol with. Alcohol can leave a void. It’s something that you spent a lot of time consuming, a lot of time thinking about, a lot of time feeling hungover… and now you’ll have more free time, more spending money, and you’ll have one less coping mechanism to deal with that.
Here’s a list of 30 activities you can do to help distract yourself from drinking, which can be helpful. Finding a hobby is good, but talking to a professional and working through things can help ensure that you have better options than turning to alcohol when the going gets rough in the future.